Now-dead Ohio State doctor accused of sexually abusing at least 177
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A now-dead Ohio State team doctor sexually abused at least 177 male students over nearly two decades, and university officials knew what he was doing and did little to stop him, according to an investigative report released by the school Friday.
Dr. Richard Strauss committed the abuse from 1979 to 1997 — nearly his entire time at Ohio State — in episodes involving athletes from at least 16 sports, plus his work at the student health center and his off-campus clinic, the report said.
The report on Strauss, who took his life in 2005, could cost the university heavily by bolstering the lawsuits brought against it by a multitude of victims.
The findings put Strauss in a league with gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of Michigan State University, who was accused of molesting at least 250 women and girls and is serving what amounts to a life sentence. Michigan State ultimately agreed to a $500 million settlement with his victims.
In issuing the report, Ohio State President Michael Drake offered "profound regret and sincere apologies to each person who endured Strauss' abuse." He called it a "fundamental failure" of the institution and thanked victims for their courage.
Many of Strauss' accusers who have spoken publicly said they were groped or otherwise inappropriately touched during physical exams, or ogled in locker rooms. Many told investigators that they thought his behavior was an "open secret" and that they believed their coaches, trainers and other team doctors knew about it.
The students described the examinations as being "hazed" or going through a "rite of passage." Athletes joked about Strauss' behavior, referring to him with nicknames like "Dr. Jelly Paws."
On Friday, some of his victims called on the university to take responsibility for its inaction and the harm inflicted by Strauss.